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Promo-a-Week: Awaken

by James Heaney, First Edition Rules

23rd November 2020


Today's contribution to the promo-a-week project is Awaken, a card that has been key for Borg all the way back to the First Contact expansion:

Downloads one [Com] or [Nav] drone. OR Plays at start of battle to download to one of your ships at that location one [Def] drone (two if opponent initiated the battle).

As the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy famously observed, "All Federation decks are alike, but each Borg deck is a Borg deck in its own way." No two players seem to run Borg the same way. I am not Kevin Jaeger or Jeremy Huth or one of the EuroBorg masters who have been refining their (very different) Borg machines for a quarter of a century. They are intellectuals. I, a plebian, learned how to play Borg in 2017 using a spin on KNomad's 30-card Borg deck, and have been merrily trying on different pairs of Borg pants ever since.

But one thing that has shown up in big proportions in every one of my Borg decks is Awaken. Why? Because the day it clicked with me how great Awaken was in that 30-card deck, I knew I wanted it everywhere. Awaken has been a Borg staple in nearly all the great Borg decks, no matter how different, since forever... because it's a really powerful, flexible card. Play an interrupt, get a drone. It acts like a free play, almost as efficiently as last week's promo, Dominion War Efforts, but with some great-quality personnel! And just look at some of the high-quality drones you can get out of it, using just the first function:

That second function's pretty useful at the right moment, too. Opponent sees you coming, starts playing phasers to protect his crew from personnel battle? Beam over, initiate battle, and download an Assault Drone to counter him! Or, if he doesn't, just fetch a Talon Drone to add more distinctiveness to your collective!

This is pretty good stuff.

However, Awaken has taken on mad new value in the General Quarters era, when Borg are limited to one personnel download per turn. But Awaken is an interrupt... and it's not limited to playing on your turns! If you can make sure that you always have an Awaken in hand during your opponent's turn, it effectively acts as an additional free play -- even if you've already used Awaken (or some other downloader, like We Are the Borg or Four of Nine) on your own turn.

This, in my book, takes Awaken from merely good to indispensible. And I seem to be more fanatical about it than most other Borg players. Back before Covid, I brought a 249-card assimilator deck to a physical tournament. It did fine. (Hard to win in time when you spend that much time shuffling!) But the interesting thing is that this deck had 80 copies of Awaken in it. Not only is that the all-time record for most uses of Awaken in a single, tournament-played deck in the CC decklists -- I checked the records, and that's the most copies of ANY card in a single, tournament-played deck. (And, yes, this whole article was just a ruse so I could brag about that by the end.) So Awaken is very near and dear to my heart, and I'm delighted to see it today in its new print.

(DISCLAIMER: I can't actually see it yet as I write this on November 20th, because I don't have a copy of the final art... but I AM pretty hyped, and I'm sure that, by the time this article posts, I will be exactly as delighted as I said just above.)

Now get out there and start airdropping Borg on your opponent's turns! See you on the spaceline!


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